2000 Acura TL Start up and Idle issue

I have a 2000 acura tl with almost 200,000 miles on it. When I drive it for more than an hour, park to run errands then get back in after say 15 minutes the car will spit and sputter and die. In order to leave I have to hold my foot on the gas and break to force it to stay running. I run premium gas and in the winter I use seafoam additive with every fill up but it doesnt seem to help. This problem is more prevalent during the winter months; my mechanic is telling me the fix will cost 1200 for a full ecu reflash to fix it. could this be caused by a different issue? Any suggestions?

FULL ECU REFLASH? IS TOTAL BUNK…please do not go for that…YOu can disconnect your batt for a few min to reset the ecu…(which isnt the cause of your issue) There are MANY things to do and check before even pondering this suggestion.

When was your last tuneup including…Plugs, Distributor Cap and Rotor (if equipped), Fuel and AIR filter? ALL good things. You can also buy a can of Carb cleaner and remove the intake snorkel from your throttle body on the engine…make sure it is CLEAN…open the butterfly and clean where it seats…clean clean clean… THEN …spray off your MAF (mass Air Sensor)…It is a part on your intake that has a small filament wire inside to gauge how much air is entering your engine…they get dirty sometimes…spraying it off with the carb spray will help it if dirty…VERY easy to do. ALL of these things are very good things to do yourself.

Your idle is controlled by the Air Idle control valve…if it gets dirty inside or gummed up your idle quality will suffer greatly and it can also make you stall out.

The other thing to look for is a vacuum leak under the hood…EVERYTHING I have listed is QUITE CHEAP…If you do these simple tasks yourself (all but the Air idle control valve) You will save HUGE money…and it has a good chance of fixing the issue.

Auto-Zone has FREE Auto repair manuals online to view for FREE…just register (free) and look up all the items I mentioned…Piece of cake from there


They told me the gas is boiling which was causing vapor lock. I googled that and it said there is an issue with the winter gas and the fact that the intake manifold is defective causing the gas to boil. I will check out the free manuals. Thank you for the info

By “they” do you mean the mechanic who wants to reflash your ECU for $1200? That’s completely preposterous - both the notion that this has anything to do with the ECU and that anything like that would cost $1200. Bewildering and preposterous.

Given that it is only (as far as I can tell) a hot restart issue, AND that keeping your foot on the gas pedal helps my own first guess would be that you are getting flooded by a leaky fuel pressure regulator or fuel injector. These would be spilling gas into the engine after you shut it down & you’d be too rich when you restart the car. That’s why the “gas” pedal helps - because its actually an “air” pedal (opens & closes the throttle plate to let more or less air in).

The vapor in the fuel lines thing is a possibility as well, although its almost certainly not “boiling” & the vapor is probably just air. It gives the opposite condition which is a lean restart (rather than rich). This would probably point to a bad check valve in the fuel pump. For short stops your fuel lines will depressurize quickly, the fuel in them will start to drain back into the tank & you’ll basically restart with a sputtering fuel supply until the lines are full again & all the way back up to pressure.

There is some possibility of an ignition system problem instead - where your ignition components (esp. something like a coil) get too hot while sitting & can’t produce good, strong spark.

The seafoam is probably a red herring - placebo effect kind of thing.

You need a new mechanic.

The Mechanic said I had to take it to the dealer to have the ECU issue taken care of. He cleared all my codes and asked me to bring it by when the check engine light comes on again so he can get a good reading on it. The check engine light came on after I had driven for an hour then had to go to the store about a mile away after I had been parked for about 10 minutes… it took me 20 minutes to go 1 mile in traffic. The car sat for about 15 minutes… i forced it to go. One of the codes was a misfire code which I am sure is from this incident.
I read this on another board… what do you think?
Gas station change to higher volatility fuels around Sept/Oct. These fuels are used during the winter to improve the starting of the engine. However, if the weather is not cold enough, the heat from the engine will boil the fuel in the fuel lines from liquid to vapor and cause vapor lock.
This usually happen when your engine are hot and stop the car for 10min or more.
Once the fuel turn into vapor in the fuel line You will have a very hard time starting the engine.

I been experiencing this problem on my 1999 TL for many years ( I believe ever since I got the car).

I finally decided that I had enough and try to figure out how to fix this.

When I remove the top plastic cover of the engine,

The first thing I notice is the fuel rail is under the intake manifold.

Second the fuel rail is made out of aluminum, if know most heat exchanger are made of aluminum, cause they like to conduct heat.

I warm up my engine and point an inferred thermometers on the fuel rail, the temp is the same as the intake manifold, This is hot!!! way too hot for winter fuel.

So I decided to cover my fuel rail with some type of heat shield.

I end up buying Thermo Tec, Thermo Shield tape. $17 from a local speed shop. (Thermo Tec 14002 Thermo Shield tape)


Here’s the steps.

  1. Remove the top plastic engine cover.
  2. Remove the intake.
  3. Remove the intake manifold.
  4. Make sure you cover you intake runner with something to prevent anything from going in to the engine.
  5. Cut multiple 3 to 4 inch Termo Shield tape and start covering the fuel rail with the tape. Make sure you cover the entire fuel rail all around, to prevent heat from getting the the rail.

On the side note. you do not have remove the fuel rail or cover the fuel injectors.

I ended up covering everything, from the Fuel Pressure Regulator, fuel host, fuel rail, including the fuel return line.

Once you are done reinstall everything in the reverse order, make sure you use a torque wrench and torque the intake manifold to 16 or 17lb/ft.

Total cost $17 and 2 Hours from start to finish

This resolve my vapor lock problems

Ugh…you DO NOT HAVE VAPOR LOCK… I am not sure of your mechanical abilities nor your car knowledge but methinks you know just enough to be a little dangerous and or come up with some crazy theories and or to listen to some other crazy diagnostic advise…LOL…:slight_smile: I say this in a KIND WAY…if you can understand that…please understand that…I mean no disrespect.

THE…Last case of Vapor LOCK I have seen was 20 years ago and this was on an ENORMOUS BLACK 1970 Chevy Station Wagon with a 4bbl carb and with a faulty thermostat keeping the engine right on the absolute verge of Blowing steam/Overheating all the time…in the middle of a Tarmac Melting Summer with outside temps in the 3 digits. Vapor Lock…true Vapor lock is RARE…and it does not IF EVER OCCUR on a 90’s era Honda product…unless there are REALLY EXTREME CONDITIONS AFOOT. Modern Hondas DO NOT get Vapor Lock…MAYBE in the middle of Summer in Death Valley with 200 mirrors aimed at the engine bay…then maybe…and only MAYBE.

To be perfectly honest I have re-read your post and your symptoms and in addition to what I have listed in my first post I would like to also add the following… Hondas that have symptoms like this are almost ALWAYS electrical issue related…and those issues reveal themselves after “Heat Soak” of the electronic components inside the distributor…or the spark plugs or wires etc…Electronic components that are on their way out “Act up” in this fashion…when they get hot they display their bad behavior. This could easily be BAD SPARK PLUG WIRES…I SWEAR TO YOU… it very well may be. If not I believe it STILL remains within the realm of the basics…Tune Up, Throttle body cleaning, MAF cleaning basics…Tune up info…we need it.

Please list for us the “state of tune” of this Engine. Tuneup schedule…When was the last one? What was done? Specifically Fuel Filter, AIR filter, distributor Cap and Rotor, Plugs…and the MEGA MEGA MEGA OFT OVERLOOKED SPARK PLUG WIRES…Need to know their state please. I would LOVE to see you Throw a set of spark plug wires… if they have not been replaced in a while PLEASE replace them and test…

PLEASE let us know about the items I asked about in my first and now this post…IT IS EXTREMELY IMPORTANT AND IT WILL SAVE YOU MONEY…We are going to keep it simple… Remember We are here to HELP YOU BROTHER… and we will trust me


Honda Blackbird & Cigroller … I just want you to know your information has not fallen on deaf ears. I printed out the info to see if my son can try some of the things you mentioned. I got another misfire code the other day after a long drive and then shut down while I went into shop came out and it just wasn’t cooled off enough to start. Thank you for taking the time to reply to my issue

Contrary to what people believe, A fuel injected engine CAN experience vapor lock. Read this and see what it says can happen to a fuel injected engine that has a low residual fuel pressure. http://www.aa1car.com/library/2003/us60324.htm